Good food is edible. Great food is edible art. Such is the story of this cookie which could double as a gem in Madison Avenue storefront. If you have a sweet tooth, if you love coconut, then this cookie is for you. Small coconut balls are given a thumbprint impression, then baked. The indent is filled with one of two things: salted caramel [the original recipe] or dolce de leche [Suzen’s favorite].
To make dolce de leche, you can simple cook a can of sweetened condensed milk cover in water in a saucepan. When, as Suzen does, you are making dolce de leche for 50 people, all burners are active. Our kitchen becomes a production line.
This cookie is quite versatile. For dessert on a warm summer weekend night, when the barbeque dishes are not yet digested and you just want a tiny touch of dessert, then this cookie is perfect. It will cleanse away all traces of chicken, steak, onions and potato salad. A glass of sparkling wine is not mandatory but suggested.
If you want elegance, say for a fall or winter holiday feast, then a plate of these cookies — centered on the table and reflecting candle light in that dolce de leche — is understated sophistication. This year round cookie is one you will simply never tire of. Trust me. I’ve had a few dozen in the past year and my addiction is only intensifying.
Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche
Yield: ~ 50 cookies
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Table salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
- 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- Or, in lieu of the caramels, cream and Maldon, 1 ½ cups of dolce de leche
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and ½ teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 ¼-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
If making a caramel filling instead of using dolce de leche, place the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.
Source: Martha Steward Living, February 2012
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/6 for 1/40th second at ISO-3200